Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Balance Point

    We are a marvelous, sometimes mad race.  We destroy, and despoil. We do it for reasons we perceive as important, but history inevitably shows us our folly in that reasoning.  It is the madness we routinely expose to light that is the same madness that drives us to create beauty unimagined before. How do we navigate this conundrum?  What are we to do?  On the one side we manifest such loveliness, such ravishing glory that we are left breathless and bereft of words.  On the other side we make nightmares real beyond rational conception.  What are we to do?
    It remains of us in our regular, real world lives to find a way to come to terms with this extreme disparity.  So, it becomes the really tough part of this whole Attire language thing.  How do we manage to make peace between our manifest desires, and the realities of life?  What makes it tougher on us all is that we are fed an unending stream of idealized images of what we should choose to be, and what we should want from the world.  So many of those images are not only irrational, but nearly impossible to attain, or maintain.
    The system we have built, which spans the globe and produces far more clothing each year than the entire species requires, is the same system which while providing jobs and food to endless millions, keeps them in a near slave condition in order to feed the international need.  The truth here is that it is not your need, or mine which is the ultimate goal of that feeding, it is the profits of massive manufacturers, whose goal is to make more money each year. There are two ways to do that. Either they raise their prices, or they have to convince us that what we already have is no longer good enough.  They do this through advertising strategies, Changing what we see constantly, and often through the expedient of shoddy manufacture.  I don't mean to imply that this is universal.  There are many out there, mostly smaller companies, who do put the genuine needs of their clients first.
    It is true that we all like the idea of having variation, and range in our wardrobes. There is both practicality, and pleasure in that. When we do not need to wear the same things every day, they will last us far longer.  And having a change allows us that field of expression I speak of so often.
    One possible answer is to work with small providers and designers, so your cash spent is going more directly to the makers, rather than to executives and ad budgets.  Yes, perhaps that is the best course; to divorce ourselves from the tyrannical sway of mega-corps, and return to seeking out and supporting small makers and cottage artisans, who we will be connected to personally, and whose lives we will know we are enhancing, as they enhance ours.
    Certainly, a growing number of us have become disenchanted with mass market goods, no matter how beguiling their ad campaigns might be. We have willingly given over part of the power of defining ourselves to people we do not know, who do not really have our best interests in mind.  Part of what makes it so difficult, this bill of divorcement I suggest, is that the propaganda is so pervasive and persuasive that it is nearly impossible to step aside it.  It is not enough that fashion periodicals and media stars present the desired fantasy, but advertisers of all sorts buy into it too. Most television shows present the same ideals to us, and we even have to face it in news programs where any female commentators are almost required to be young, blonde, and nubile.
    Another thing that gives this power is that we are at heart tribal creatures, never fully happy unless we are part of a group that accepts us, and the industry plays on that desire endlessly.  If we only buy this thing, or use this product, we will become acceptable, beautiful and desired.
    And so, we struggle to find our place, and our peace, between the push to consume at all costs, and the world we actually inhabit. 

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